HISTORY OF USAMCJ
Stemming from the United
States Army Medical Center, the United States Army Medical Command, Japan was
activated 25 March, 1959, with Colonel Charles E. Mosely, MC, Commanding. The
initial units included:
• U.S. Army Hospital, Camp Zama.
The Medical Command had the mission of providing Medical Services and Supplies to all U.S. Army Personnel stationed in Japan. The mission changed drastically in 1965 with the advent of the Vietnam War. Additional units were brought in from the Continental United States to support the war effort. These units included:
• 249th General Hospital at Camp Drake.
Additional U.S. Army Medical
Units that served in Japan during the post World War II era were:
• U.S. Army Hospital,
Camp Drew (11th Evacuation Hospital).
There probably were other units that served in Japan from 1945 to the present
date. If you know of any, please send the names to the Secretary/Treasurer when
you return your personal data form.
History Of US Army Hospital, Camp Zama, Japan1
1942 - 1979
The first hospital buildings at the present site were built by the Japanese in 1940, with a capacity of 300 beds. In 1943, the complex was enlarged to a 1000 bed capacity and was known as the Sobudai-mai Japanese Military Hospital.
The 128th Station Hospital, forerunner of the present unit was activated 20 December, 1942 at Camp Beale, California. It departed the United States on 28 January, 1944 aboard the USAT LST 1758 and arrived in New Guinea on 23 February, 1944.
It then moved aboard USS Lauaca to the Philippine Islands arriving on 13 August, 1945. The hospital remained in the Philippines until 1 September, 1945, in staging areas at San Fernando, La Union, and at Satanges, all on Luzon. On 16 August, 1945, the hospital was attached to the IX Corps, 8th US Army. It departed the Philippine Islands aboard LST 1106 to Tokyo Bay. The 128th was to be part of a large invasion which was never needed.
While the document declaring the surrender of Japan and the cessation of hostilities in the Pacific was being signed on 2 September, 1945, the 128th Station Hospital was battling a Typhoon off the coast of Okinawa. When the Typhoon struck the LST 1106, most of the hospital equipment was lost at sea. A particularly large toll was taken in medical vehicles as the loading doors of the vessel were torn away by the storm.
Shortly after General Douglas MacArthur stepped on Japanese soil at which is now Atsugi Naval Air Station, the medics from the 128th Station Hospital and the Military Police, two of the very 1st units to land, arrived in this area to assist in the release of American Prisoners of War interned in Camps in the Tokyo-Yokohama area. Setting up the 1st Medical Installation at Camp Zama, the commanding officer of the 128th arrived at the Japanese Military Hospital, Sagami-Ono, to accept it's surrender on 26 September, 1945. Only General Kiyoshi Shimazu, Japanese Commanding General of the hospital, and his white horse awaited the arrival of the Yanks. Meeting the American doctor at the gate, the General, in traditional manner, surrendered his sword. At this time, he presented the American his horse, thereby starting a story which has become a fond legend of the US Army Hospital, Camp Zama, Japan. The horse, christened, "Duke" by the staff, is still a part of the hospital lore.
Duke was originally owned by Prince Kanin of the Imperial Family. Friend of everyone, he was soon adopted as mascot of the hospital, and probably hauled more soldiers on his back than any horse in the Orient. Later, when the hospital was to know another influx of wounded men from the new battlefields of Korea, Duke was an important part of the therapy department, ridden by many of the patients. Finally he had the misfortune of stepping into a hole and breaking his leg. Ordered destroyed by the commanding officer, the pleading of the Japanese groom caused the officer to reverse his decision. Due to the excellent care given him by the groom and his medical friends, Duke was once more walking about the grounds in good health. However, the time was passed when he could be mounted, so he spent his declining years donating blood for research to the 406th Medical General Laboratory. In August, 1957, Duke breathed his last and is buried on the hospital compound.
The 128th Station Hospital initially operated as a communicable disease
hospital. There was not a change in it’s mission until the outbreak of
hostilities in Korea. On 1 November, 1950, the 128th Station Hospital was
absorbed by the 141st General Hospital for the period of one month. In
anticipation of a large influx of casualties from Korea, the 141st was ordered
to Fukuoka in Southern Japan. Leaving on 1 December, 1950 they took with them
their personnel and equipment. Orders were then received to reorganize the 128th
Station Hospital as a 300 bed hospital. One hundred beds were transferred from
the 141st General Hospital upon it’s departure and by 5 December, 1950,
ninety-seven casualties from Korea were received, great number of which were
general hospital type cases. The departure of the 141st left the 128th with
equipment for 100 bed hospital, but the patient load had arisen to two hundred
In 1952, the 128th Station Hospital was re-designated the
United States Army Hospital, 8169th Army Unit.
In accordance with the United States Army Japan Surgeon’s
plan for the roll-up of activities in Japan, the United States Army Hospital,
Camp Zama had been designated as a specialized treatment in September, 1957. All
specialties were gradually phased from Tokyo to Zama during fiscal year, 1958.
On 1 June, 1960, the operating bed capacity of the Zama
Hospital was reduced from 200 to 150 with a capability of expanding to 500 beds.
Two General Hospitals, a Field Hospital, a Headquarters
Hospital Center, an Illustration Detachment, a Renal Detachment, a Helicopter
Ambulance Detachment, and a Medical Ambulance Company were added to support the
Medical Command mission.
On 7 October, 1966, a change in the mission statement,
provided for the maintenance and operation of 700 fixed beds.
While active duty and their family members and retirees and
their eligible family members receive medical care at the clinic at no cost,
civilians are charged for care received at either the military or Japanese
health care facilities. The MEDDAC-J Community Relations Officer will liaison
between the host nation hospital and the patient to ensure prompt payment to the
hospital. Payment mechanisms differ depending on the beneficiary category of the
patient. Any questions concerning payments are to contact MEDDAC-J Community
In March 1999, MEDDAC-J received a full three year
accreditation from the the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare